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Home > Business Check Ordering Guide > 6 Tips to Spot and Prevent Fake Checks and Scams

6 Tips to Spot and Prevent
Fake Checks and Scams

Fake checks are harmful to your business and unfortunately criminals have become pretty sophisticated in the fraudulent check business. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with this go-to checklist for spotting fake checks and scams so you can protect your business.

1. Understanding Common Check Scams

In preventing fraud, it’s smart to know check scammers’ top methods, leveraged from the FDIC and briefly outlined below:

Lotteries and “Sudden Riches” Scams: Once check recipients are told that they won a lottery or chosen to receive an inheritance, the “winner” must pay “taxes and fees” before they can receive their prize or money. Then, a fake cashier’s check is sent for the recipient to cash and wire funds to cover the required fake “taxes and fees.”

Online Auctions, Classified Listing Sites, and Overpayment Scams: Scammers often take up shop in an online auction or classified listing site, offering to buy an item, pay upfront for a service, or even rent an apartment. As payment, they send a cashier’s check for too much, asking for a return on the extra funds – all with the plan that the check is deposited and the “extra” is sent over before the check is flagged as fake.

Secret or Mystery Shopper Employment Scams: Scammers can post a job opportunity to work from home and send a starting bonus check to the “employee” with the instruction to pay for the cost of “account activation.” Or, scammers also offer secret shopper jobs to "assess the quality" of local money transfer businesses. The “employee” is sent a cashier’s check and asked to deposit it in their bank account and withdraw the amount in cash. Next, they are told to use a local money transfer business to send the funds back to the “employer” and "evaluate" the service provided by the money transfer business.

2. Learn How to Spot A Fake Check

Also using the FDIC guidance as a guide, here’s how to know the difference between a real check and a fraud:
  • Make sure the check was issued by a legitimate bank. While some counterfeit checks will include a legitimate bank’s name, some will use fake ones. If you are unsure on real institutions, government resources (i.e. the FDIC) will guide you.
  • Now it’s time to check with the bank, and don’t use the provided contact information on potential fake checks. . Look up the bank contact details via the official website and phone number. Ask them to verify the check via the check number, date, and amount.
  • Look at the mailing address. If it’s from overseas or the postmark is different from the issuing bank, take caution.
  • Question the amount. Fake checks are typically more than expected, in hopes you wire the “overpayment” back to the scammer.
  • Examine the quality. Scammers will try to replicate “official check” markings like watermarks, security threads, color-changing ink and other security features – but will often do it badly. Examine it with a critical eye.
Business Check

3. Use Common Sense and Don’t Use the Money

If it doesn’t feel right OR make sense why you are getting a check, it’s probably a scam. Keep your eye out for emails and text messages (often with spelling mistakes and bad grammar) with “too good to be true” offers and trust your gut instincts. If it feels off, don’t use the money and don’t engage in further communication.

4. Report Check Fraud

The best way to stop scammers is to report them. Taken from the FDIC, here’s how to do it by contacting these places:
  • The Federal Trade Commission.
  • The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (if you received the check in the mail).
  • Your state or local consumer protection agencies. Visit NAAG for a list of state Attorneys General.
  • The Internet Crime Complaint Center for possible online crimes involving counterfeit checks and money orders.
  • The banks/website/online service where you encountered the scammer so they can be blocked from future scams.

5. Know What A Legit Check Needs to Have

At Checksforless.com®, we guarantee your checks will meet or exceed industry bank processing standards, including Check 21 regulations. Check 21 is a federal law written to improve the efficiency and safety of the check processing system. Using electronic images, the need to physically transfer the check from one financial institution to another is eliminated. This system places certain requirements on the design, print quality and MICR encoding on banking products; a visual image is included below to best illustrate this:
All our products have been tested to be fully compliant with Check 21, an important promise we are happy to extend along to our customers.

What security features do you offer on your business checks? All checksforless.com® checks exceed the security guidelines set by the industry and by the Check Payments Systems Association. As two examples, our checks feature security pantographs to limit reproducibility, as well as MicroPrinted Signature lines that are too small to be reproduced by a scanner.

6. Rely Only on The Most Credible Business Check Providers

We know your top questions:
  • Is it safe to order business checks online?
  • When ordering business checks, Will my financial information remain confidential?
  • Can anyone outside my business checks order see my personal information?
  • How can I be sure that CFL is a reputable and trustworthy online business checks supplier?
We are so proud to provide the answers on our secure system for ordering checks online. Here are our promises:
  • All checksforless.com® checks exceed the security guidelines set by the industry and by the Check Payments Systems Association.
  • To safeguard your information against fraud, our site uses Secure SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology. Additionally, we use a secure server for all online transactions, have security checkpoints throughout in the ordering process, process credit cards through Address Verification Services, and our system checks for combinations of common elements of fraudulent orders (i.e. changes in the shipping address on reorders; different ship to, imprint and billing information; and deliveries to Post Office boxes and other non-physical addresses).
  • checksforless.com® are members of the Better Business Bureau Online, an organization known for its expertise and experience in conducting successful national self-regulation programs.
  • We protect your personal and financial information through Enhanced Identity Lock Theft Protection (double verification) and 3rd party security validation via an independent 3rd party whose certification is the only security scanning technology recognized to meet both the U.S. government's benchmark FBI/SANS security test and the security standards of all major credit card companies.
  • checksforless.com® will never share customer information, including names and mailing addresses, with third parties.

Your Business Relies On Trustworthy Checks

Fraud and scams can dismantle a small business, and it’s important not only that you use the best and most secure checking products, it’s also crucial that you have a heightened awareness about bringing check fraud into your workplace. Only issue and accept the best checks in the industry.

Backed With Business Check Security, Here’s How To Order Your Checks

Visit us online at Checksforless.com® or call us toll-free at 800-245-5775 to get started. While our FAQ page is a great place to check out more information, our teams of experts are always happy to help you with any more specific questions you have along the way. Checksforless.com® is also proud to offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. When you order from us, you will get the exact high-quality checking supplies you need for your organization.

If you are ready to order your customized business checks that are built with safety and protect your business reputation, contact us today!

This article is made possible by Checksforless.com® For more than 35 years, Checksforless.com® has provided over 500,000 businesses with high quality business checksdeposit slips, and other banking supplies with easy ordering and fast production times; all at the guaranteed lowest price in the nation. Our discount business checks are easily customizable and compatible with over 4,500 software programs including QuickBooks and Peachtree/Sage 50. Email or call us toll-free at 800-245-5775.
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